Table Mountain can be crested a number of ways, and the three of us set out on a sunny Sunday to try ascending the western side of Table Mountain. We took the Kasteelpoort trail up a gorge between two of the Twelve Apostles, starting from Camp’s Bay.
The trail up provided wonderful views of Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Seaboard. It was quite a scramble at times, but we managed to find our way to the top, where we came across the old cableway station. From there, we found a terrific/terrifying rock to climb out onto. Believe me when I say that it is way more terrifying to be the photographer than the climber. I went first, with no qualms about venturing out on the rock. But, as soon as Chas climbed out, I yelled at him to get off, took a quick picture, and then turned around because I couldn’t watch.
It was also about this time, that we met our new friend, Hamish. Hamish emerged from the wild bush, and after a bit of chit chat, offered to lead the three of us to Rendezvous Cave. Only those in the know can find the cave, so when Hamish said, “Follow me off the trail to a hidden cave,” we willingly followed. Outside of this particular event, it’s probably best not to follow a stranger to a “hidden cave.”
We emerged from the cave to a great view of the Twelve Apostles and (I believe) the coast of Hout Bay or Llandudno Beach.
From the top of the Kasteelpoort trail, you have an option of following the path right to Grootkop, turning left to trek through the Valley of the Red Gods, or continuing on to the reservoirs. We decided to go to the reservoirs, which was a great choice—not only was the Hely-Hutchinson dam completely dry, thus resembling a great, barren wasteland, but we also ran into a man dressed up in a wolf costume (not pictured, unfortunately). His plan? To scare the runners of a 50k race as they ran across the top of Table Mountain. Sure. Why not?
From the reservoirs, we took an unmarked trail to ascend Maclear’s Beacon and then make our way to the cable car. Chas and I have hiked this side of Table Mountain before, but this new route afforded such a different perspective of the mountain. Our jungly trail followed a creek through a ravine before joining up with Smuts Track.
At this point, our legs were just about jelly, and we were ready to summit the highest point on Table Mountain—Maclear’s Beacon. After a few more hefty scrambles and some inspirational talks, we made it.
We took the trail down from Maclear’s to see the magnificent view from the western table and connect to Platteklip Gorge. Unfortunately, our lovely sunshine was all but gone, and we were instead deep within the cold Table Cloth.
The incredible views of the Atlantic Seaboard, the City Bowl and Cape Point that we had promised our friend Micah were all buried beneath a dense cover of fog (though the Cableway website still reported good visibility—does anyone even man that thing?).
We rested for a bit in the mountaintop cafe with some terrible coffee, while appreciatively accepting pity from other patrons—like, “Oh you poor things, you must be so cold,” and “Did you really walk up?” We must have looked ROUGH.
We only had about 45 more minutes of sunlight, so we took the cable car back down to Cape Town. There is something so nice about a 5-minute descent after a long afternoon of hiking up and across the mountain.
This hike goes in the books as one of my favorites. Despite the unfortunate fog, the views from our hike up Kasteelpoort, rock climbing, secret cave exploring, a man dressed in a wolf suit, and hidden trails made this a great day to be out on Table Mountain.